Writing about your family can be a daunting task, especially if you're concerned about developing your family history well. You may have to write about this topic for a class or for personal reasons. You may decide to write about your family and create a personal memoir or biography for publication. You may want to do it to practice your command of the language. Regardless of the method, writing about your family can be a rewarding adventure if done correctly.
Method 1 of 3: Write Family History
Step 1. Create a family tree
A family tree is an ideal way to organize your family lineage, going as far back as possible. You may need to do an investigation on your own or with the help of family members. Draw a family tree on a large piece of construction paper and hang it on the wall. Then use it as inspiration for your family stories.
There are also many online tools that you can use to create a family tree. You can print it out and use it as a guide when writing about your family
Step 2. Inform your family members that you write about them
When you start this writing project, let your family members know that you will be writing about them. Being direct and telling it will make it easier for you to get into writing. You can sit down with your family members and tell them why you are interested in writing about this topic and why it is so important to you. Having this conversation directly will allow you to express any concerns you have and talk about the project in general.
For example, you can say "I want to write about our family because I think we have a valuable story to share with others, a story of perseverance, sacrifice and enjoyment. I feel that a story like ours is not well represented at this time and I want to make it Justice"
Step 3. Ask your family members if you can interview them
Start by gathering concrete information about your family from the source. Ask them if you can talk to them about their childhood, education and relationship with the rest of the family. You can take notes during the interview or record it with a tape recorder or camcorder.
- Make sure to talk about the oldest generation in the family, such as your grandparents, great aunts, or old family friends. Often times, the older generation will have more information about your family history.
- You may have to interview your family members several times. At first, they may not know what parts of their past are important to your work. Over time, they will have a better idea of the type of information you are looking for.
Step 4. Look up your family's information in public records
Use resources (such as printed or online public records) to gather more information from your family. If your family has lived in the same place for several generations, you can search the public records of your family's last name to gather more information. You can also do a search for your family at your local library or newspaper archives online.
If you don't know how to look up your family's information in public records, you can ask a reference librarian at your local library for advice. You can also speak to a representative at the city records office for advice on finding information
Step 5. Create character profiles based on your relatives
To write about your family, start by creating characters based on your relatives. Use as many biographical facts, personality traits, and details from your family as possible when creating these characters. You can create character profiles for each member of your family, including detailed backstories.
- For example, you could write a character profile of your father as "60-year-old Chinese American man who came to the United States in the 1920s with his mother. He is fascinated by Chinese culture. He tends to speak only when spoken to.".
- Keep in mind that you can share your impressions with your family members when you write about them. Make sure to clarify that you are writing from your perspective and that you are not seeking to embellish any aspect of your family. The writing work is non-fiction, so it is not fiction.
Step 6. Identify a conflict or issue in your family history
Having a central conflict or theme in your family history will help you stay focused when writing. You can also use this to keep the stakes high and build tension. There are many conflicts or issues that you can write about, or choose a central focus.
For example, you may find that you have always wondered why your father is so estranged from his family and why your grandmother left China in the first place to go to the United States. You can use this question to structure and organize the story. You can also keep this question in mind during your research
Step 7. Compile the family history
Once you do the research and talk to your family about your intention to write, put together the family history. You can create a plot outline for your family history. Another option is to organize the story in chronological order, beginning with the origins of the family and ending with their current lives.
There may be several major conflicts in history, such as the moment your grandmother ran away to marry your grandfather, or the moment your great-grandmother boarded a ship to go to the United States. Use these conflicts and successes to jumpstart the story and make it more interesting
Step 8. Review the draft
After you finish the draft of the story, it is recommended that you share it with others to get their opinions. You can ask your family members for feedback. You can also talk to colleagues or friends who have writing experience to get their opinions. Be open-minded to receive constructive criticism, and revise the draft until it is as good as possible.
Keep in mind that your family members may offer more edits or opinions of the draft than the rest. Contemplate their comments, as you will also be writing about their family history. You should also be willing to argue against their views if you think they will hurt the overall story or are unresponsive to family history facts
Method 2 of 3: Write a personal memoir or biography
Step 1. Research your family
Writing a personal memoir can be a fun and challenging way to write about your family. Maybe you do it as part of a class assignment or as a personal project. To write a personal memoir, you will first need to do research on your family history. This may mean interviewing your family members, searching public records for information, and creating a family tree.
- During the investigation, talk with your family members about your plans to write a personal memoir. Tell them that you will be doing research on your family for a book. Talking about the book with them will make the memory more compelling and give you more information to work with.
- Keep in mind that your family members may not be very happy with the idea of memory at first, especially if they are nervous or worried that certain family details will come to light. Be patient and tactful with your family. Explain that you want to write a memoir from your perspective and that there is never just one version of the stories. Make sure that you allow them to read the final draft before sharing it with someone else.
Step 2. Read examples of personal memories
To get a better idea of how to approach your family history, you can read examples from nonfiction works about families. You can focus on a writer who has a particular style or voice that you are passionate about. If you want to focus on a specific family dynamic (such as an immigrant family story), you can read papers related to this topic. For example, you can read the following works:
- The Ashes of Angela by Frank McCourt.
- The warrior woman of Maxine Hong Kingston.
- Notes from a native son of James Baldwin.
- Family things of Michael Ondaatje.
- The Crystal Castle by Jeannette Walls.
Step 3. Focus on an issue that you think is important in your family
You may find that there is a specific topic or issue that keeps coming up as you talk with your family members and do your research. You can use it to give your story structure. You can also include your reflections on the topic or issue in the work about the family.
For example, you may notice that the topic of integration keeps coming up in your research. Perhaps there is a common theme in the women in the family who overcome obstacles to raise their children in the United States
Step 4. Write the plot outline
Creating a plot outline for your family's story can help you stay focused and organized. You can make a flexible outline divided between chapters or sections. You can also go for a more traditional scheme based on a raster diagram. Regardless of the approach you choose, having a plot outline will make it easier for you to immerse yourself in writing.
- A plot diagram contains five parts: the exposition, the inciting incident, the rise of the action, the climax, the fall of the action, and the resolution.
- You can also use the snowball method, which involves writing a one-sentence summary of the story followed by a one-paragraph summary, the character synopsis, and a scene sheet.
Step 5. Write about a family memory or experience from your perspective
In a personal memory, you will explore family relationships from your perspective. Review family memories and experiences with your family. You may notice that there is a central conflict in your memories and experiences that you want to explore further. Perhaps there is a special memory you have from childhood that has had a great impact on your family and the rest of your childhood.
If you are writing about a difficult memory or experience to address (such as a memory of abuse or neglect by a family member), you may need to write multiple drafts. Take your time and focus on the sensory details of the memory. Be honest about how you feel about the memory on the page and don't be afraid to dig deeper
Step 6. Review your first draft
Once you've completed a draft of your family's story, take some time to refine it until it's as good as possible. Review it out loud. Hear how each section flows into each other. Pay attention to how you characterize each member of the family. Notice if there are sections that are monotonous or do not have as much tension or conflict as possible.
Ask yourself several questions during the review, such as: Are the characters in the story a fair representation of your royal family? What is the conflict or theme of the story? Is it transmitted in a meaningful way? Do you need to include more reflections on your family from your perspective?
Step 7. Ask your family and colleagues for their opinion on the draft
Consider showing your family members the draft, especially if you want to publish the story. Ask for their comments. Ask them if they feel the story is accurate. Be willing to listen to their words and integrate their opinions into your next draft.
- Depending on the topic you are writing about, some of your family members may be upset or unsettled by the story. This could happen if you write about a family secret or a difficult moment in family history. Prepare to defend or explain your choices for the story.
- You can also ask for opinions on the draft from close family members or colleagues with whom you have a close relationship. If you are looking for professional advice on your draft, you can sign up for a writing workshop that focuses on nonfiction work and memoir writing. You might even receive valuable feedback from other writers who also explore their family history.
- Look for nonfiction writing groups online or at your local college or university. If you have friends or colleagues who have experience writing memoirs, ask them if they would be willing to start a writing group.
Method 3 of 3: Write About Your Family to Practice Your Language
Step 1. Use a writing prompt
If you want to write about your family to practice your language, use a slogan to start. You can create it or search for one online. If you want, set a goal of writing a certain number of words about your family, such as 250. You can also take on the challenge of writing a certain number of sentences about your family, such as 10.
- For example, you can use one of these slogans: “Think about your favorite family memory. Why is it your favorite memory? How is it that your family members have made that moment special? "
- As part of the slogan, you can imagine that you are talking to someone you have just met who asks about your family.
Step 2. Create the first draft
When writing about your family, use the present tense and write short, clear sentences. Identify all family members by name and mention where they live. Use "brother, sister, mother, father, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc." to identify family members.
For example, you can write "Let me tell you about my family. I have a mother, a father, two brothers, and a sister. We also have a dog named Pepe. We all live together in a house in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We have lived in this house. since I was born. After getting married, my father and mother moved into the house to start their family. "
Step 3. Show the draft to others and review it
Once you have completed your family draft, try to share it with others to get their opinions. These people can be your teachers, instructors or a native speaker of your language. Ask for their opinion regarding sentence structure, your choice of words, and your spelling and grammar. Then apply your comments to your draft.